Welcome to the Memory Evaluation Program of UCLA Geriatric Medicine. Our aim is to provide you and your family with a comprehensive memory evaluation and answer your questions and concerns about Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. We see patients age 65 years or over who are experiencing difficulties in remembering and/or thinking. Our offices are located in Westwood and Santa Monica. Call (310) 319-4371 to schedule an assessment.
Dementia is the term that doctors use to describe conditions that result in the disruption of the brain's memory and thinking functions. It is a broad term that covers several different brain conditions that have in common a decline in one's mental abilities. Dementia is a progressive condition that left untreated will result in loss of a person's ability to remember, think, reason and eventually, to independently perform activities of daily living.
Alzheimer's disease is only one form of dementia, albeit the most common form, accounting for about 7 out of 10 cases of dementia. The relationship between the terms 'dementia' and 'Alzheimer's' is similar to that of the terms 'color' and 'blue', i.e. blue is only one among many colors, and Alzheimer's is only one type of dementia. Stated another way, all Alzheimer's disease patients have dementia, but not all people who have dementia have Alzheimer's disease (although most of them do).
The brain, like all organs of the body, undergoes changes with age. Consequently, as a person gets older, he or she will experience some slowing of the speed of information processing and other mental functions. However, becoming forgetful is not a normal part of aging. Oftentimes, the most accurate way to distinguish between normal cognitive changes with aging and early Alzheimer's disease is by undergoing a memory evaluation by a physician trained in dementia diagnosis.
A pre-visit questionnaire will be mailed to you in order for us to get to know you better. Please bring the completed form to your first appointment, as the information you provide will be an important part of the evaluation. If you do not get this questionnaire at least a week prior to your scheduled visit, please give us a call at (310) 319-4371.
Make sure to bring any old medical records and the results of brain scans or films (MRI, CT, PET, SPECT) from previous evaluations to your first clinic appointment. This will facilitate your assessment and may save considerable expense. Please request your referring doctor to fax records to us (ATTN: Memory Evaluation Program) prior to your appointment at (310) 319-4141.
You will be in the office approximately 1½ hours on your first visit. A physician who is an expert in memory disorders will evaluate you.
The evaluation includes a review of your medical history and family history, tests of memory and language, a physical examination and a neurological examination. Additional members of our team may assist in interviewing you and the family member or friend who comes with you.
It may not be possible to complete the evaluation in a single visit, especially when further testing such as brain scans, blood tests and/or neuropsychological tests are needed. Your physician will discuss with you about future visits to complete the evaluation.
Dr. Zaldy S. Tan is the Medical Director of the UCLA Alzheimer's and Dementia Care Program and Associate Professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California Los Angeles. He is the Director and Principal Investigator for the UCLA California Geriatric Education Center.
Dr. Tan is a clinician, researcher and educator. He maintains clinical practices on memory disorders evaluation and primary care, and attends on the inpatient and geriatric psychiatry units at UCLA. He performs dementia researcher at the Framingham Heart Study and the UCLA Easton Center for Alzheimer's Disease Research. His studies on brain aging and memory have been published in major medical journals and featured in the New York Times, Time, CNN, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and other national publications. Prior to coming to UCLA, Dr. Tan was on the faculty of Harvard Medical School, where he was director of the physical diagnosis course and for medical education at the Brigham and Women's Hospital Division of Aging and the VA Boston Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center.
As the Medical Director of UCLA Alzheimer's and Dementia Care, Dr. Tan supports the program's dementia care managers as they put together comprehensive, effective and timely care plans and work with referring physicians to help patients, families, and caregivers attain their treatment and personal goals. More information »
Dr. Grace Chen is an Assistant Clinical Professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California Los Angeles. She is the Lead Physician of the Santa Monica Geriatrics clinic.
Dr. Chen is a clinician and educator. She has a fulltime outpatient clinic where she is the primary care provider for her Geriatric patients. Her other clinical responsibility includes attending on the inpatient geriatric service at UCLA. In both the outpatient and inpatient settings, she is actively involved in teaching medical students, resident physicians, and fellows. Dr.Chen also has a special interest in memory disorders evaluation and assisting patients and their families with issues related to memory loss. More information »
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call us at (310) 319-4371 and ask for the Memory Evaluation Program coordinator.